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“Help! I Think My Dog Has a Broken Tooth”

November 5th, 2019 by Cherished Companions

Aspen, the Golden Retriever, pants showing her teeth. She hasn't wanted to eat lately.

Something doesn’t look right in your dog’s mouth…

You think you see a broken dog tooth.

Or maybe, you’re noticing strange symptoms in your dog.

For example, your “never pass up a meal” Golden Retriever isn’t eating like normal. Or, you see blood on your Yorkie’s favorite stuffie.

You’re smart to look for information!

Here are answers to 6 popular questions we’re asked about fractured dog teeth, so you can help your dog feel better quickly.

#1: How can I tell if my dog has a broken tooth?

You may notice that a tooth is missing a chunk.

This is called a slab fracture. It’s the most common tooth fracture our veterinarians see in dogs. It often affects the:

  • Canine teeth
  • Upper fourth premolar (your dog’s upper fourth premolar is like your first big molar behind your canine and premolars)
  • Lower first molar

You may notice that the tip of the canine tooth is missing.

And yes, it’s possible for your dog to break the tooth off at the gum line too.

The best thing is to see a veterinarian.

Milo, the dog, lays on the floor, not wanting to play with his chew toy because he has a broken tooth.

#2: What are the symptoms of a broken dog tooth?

You may see symptoms such as:

  • Blood on your dog’s toys or in the water bowl
  • Swelling and redness around your dog’s gum line
  • Swelling or drainage adjacent to the teeth, usually along the cheek (this is known as an “abscess”)

You also may notice unusual behavior. Your dog may be:

  • Having difficulty chewing
  • Drooling more than normal
  • Reluctant to eat, particularly harder foods like kibble
  • Avoiding certain chew toys
  • Reluctant to hold things in his or her mouth
  • Acting more aggressive or short-tempered than usual

We’ve had pet parents tell us that fixing the smallest abnormality in their dog’s mouths made a dramatic difference in demeanor.

Their dogs went from cranky and aggressive, to sweet and loving.

#3: How do dogs break their teeth?

Usually, it’s a blunt trauma.

The big culprits tend to be hard chew toys.

When dogs chew on toys or bones that are harder than their own teeth, they’re putting a lot of tension on their teeth. Pieces can fracture or break off.

Hard toys include bones, antlers, Benebones, rigid plastic toys, even metals!

We know that your dog may L-O-V-E hard chew toys (so many of them do), but if you can find a softer alternative, you’ll help avoid trips to the vet for broken teeth.

This puppy is at risk for a broken tooth by chewing on hard bones.

#4: Is a broken tooth painful for a dog?

Your dog may not be in pain if:

  • It’s a small break
  • The break doesn’t go too deep
  • The area isn’t infected

However, your dog is likely in a lot of pain if:

  • The broken tooth is infected or
  • The pulp cavity is exposed (this is the inner part of the tooth where the nerve and blood supply are)

#5: What’s the treatment for a broken dog tooth?

If your dog has:

  • A broken tooth that’s infected, the solution is likely a tooth extraction.
  • A broken tooth that isn’t infected yet, a root canal may be an option.
  • A very small fracture, it often can be sealed with a bond and seal material to help protect the area as your dog’s body tries to heal the tooth. (This is not always a successful, permanent treatment.)

We’re happy to walk you through your options, so you can do what’s best for your dog.

#6: Will a broken dog tooth heal?

If you take action quickly and your dog gets the right medical attention, your dog’s mouth should heal well.

Typically, your dog can get back to normal within just a few weeks.

(Every pet is different, though, so it’s important to see a vet.)

Buddy, the dog, and his pet parent, Michael, smile broadly now that Buddy doesn't have a broken tooth.

Related articles:

Get a free dental evaluation to check for broken teeth

Our veterinarians offer a free dental evaluation to check your dog’s teeth and oral health. You’ll learn if your dog has a broken tooth and what the cost may be to treat it, if any.

It’s a great way to put your mind at ease, and it’s free!

Simply call us at 303-688-3757 or:

Book your free dental evaluation here 

Cherished Companions Animal Clinic is a veterinary clinic in Castle Rock, Colorado. Specializing in the care of cats and dogs, our goal is to help you and your pet feel more comfortable, keeping your stress to a minimum.

This article is intended to provide general guidance for a broken dog tooth. If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact your local veterinarian. (If you live in or around Castle Rock, we welcome your call: 303-688-3757.)

© 2019, Cherished Companions Animal Clinic, All Rights Reserved

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